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Biz Briefs

Oct 13, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Bankrupt satellite producer and operator Loral Space & Communications last week rejected EchoStar Communications’ $1.85 billion offer to buy all of its assets, saying the bid was too low. EchoStar’s latest offer, which had been upped from a previous bid of $1.45 billion made in August, comes on the eve of a scheduled Oct. 20 auction of Loral’s assets. Rival satellite company Intelsat agreed in July to buy six North American satellites from Loral for nearly $1.1 billion, and has a $1 billion offer on the table for the rest of Loral’s assets. Loral Chairman and CEO Bernard Schwartz said EchoStar’s offer “undervalues Loral’s businesses, especially in light of the significant increase in value that has been achieved since the beginning of the company’s reorganization case in July.” He added that he thinks the best course of action for the company is to proceed with the auction and emerge from bankruptcy.
Nickelodeon, Holiday Inn Team for Theme Hotel
In a bid to extend its brand further into the resort space, Nickelodeon announced last week that it is partnering with hotel chain Holiday Inn to develop a themed hotel slated to open in Orlando, Fla., in early 2005. To be called the Nickelodeon Family Suites by Holiday Inn, the new hotel will be converted from Holiday Inn’s Family Suites Resort in Lake Buena Vista into a Nick-themed hotel. During a renovation estimated to cost $20 million the 800-suite hotel will be redecorated with a Nickelodeon theme, with some hotel suites converted into three-bedroom units complete with fully functional kitchens. The hotel’s current management will run the new facility.
TiVo Stock Surges
TiVo, the digital video recorder maker whose stock has been trounced in recent weeks amid questions about DirecTV’s commitment to the company, received a vote of confidence from the satellite operator last week following the election of DirecTV Chairman and CEO Eddy Hartenstein to TiVo’s board of directors. News that Mr. Hartenstein would join the San Jose, Calif.-based company’s board sent its stock surging 12 percent in heavy trading on Wednesday. Former NBC Cable President Tom Rogers was also named to the board.
Charter Sues Recording Industry
Charter Communications entered the music piracy controversy last week by filing a lawsuit against the Recording Industry Association of America, challenging the trade group’s assertion that it has the right to obtain names of Charter customers suspected of swapping songs via the Internet. The lawsuit, filed Oct. 3 in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, followed the RIAA’s issuance of a subpoena for Charter to hand over the identities of 150 Charter customers. Charter’s suit joins several others filed by Internet service providers claiming the RIAA’s request violates customer privacy, due process and free speech. The RIAA in September filed suits against 261 people suspected of sharing large numbers of songs without authorization.